Patience and Urgency

Scripture Focus: Acts 1.3-8
3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”

6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

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Reflection: Patience and Urgency
By Savannah Green

The Holy Spirit. A member of the Trinity, a gift to believers, and yet often a mystery. We hear the phrases, “The Spirit told me…” and “Where is the Spirit leading us?” in Christian communities. But what do we mean when we say this? Do we know what we are saying? Do we know the power of the Spirit working inside of us?

Acts 1:3-8 takes place between the resurrection and ascension of Christ. Jesus, we see in verse 3, appeared many times to the disciples over a span of 40 days. When Jesus was with the disciples, there was one thing he spoke of often: the kingdom of God. 

In verses 4-5, Jesus tells the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. They must remain in Jerusalem until they are baptized with the Spirit. When the disciples expected commands of action for the kingdom of God, Jesus commanded them to wait.

The disciples were in waiting. They were in anticipation. They hoped for restoration of the earthly kingdom of Israel, but Jesus spoke of something else. He spoke of a spiritual restoration of the kingdom where God reigns over the hearts of women and men. Spiritual restoration requires the Holy Spirit, the main character in Acts. Throughout this book, we see how the Spirit transforms the disciples’ perspective of the kingdom of God. Jesus redirects the disciples’ away from earthly power. Now, the disciples wait for the Holy Spirit, anticipating a spiritual kingdom. 

But why wait? Perhaps the disciples wondered why they must wait to begin proclaiming the kingdom. Isn’t this good news worth sharing now with urgency?

Urgency needs guidance and power. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” The Holy Spirit empowers kingdom proclamation and service. The gospel is worth sharing now with urgency, The Spirit fuels the urgency to witness to others. 

We can hear the command “you will be my witnesses” just as the disciples did. Letting the Spirit shape our lives testifies to God’s reign over our hearts. This is not something we can do on our own. Jesus’ command to wait reveals the necessity of the Spirit. The Spirit is essential as we proclaim God’s kingdom and serve with urgency as Christ’s witnesses.

Divine Hours Prayer: A Reading
Jesus taught us, saying: “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more. You are pruned already, by means of the word that I have spoken to you.” — John 15.1-3

Today’s Readings
Isaiah 43 (Listen – 4:06)
Acts 1 (Listen – 3:58)

Read more about Fruitful in Suffering
We can be fruitful in the land of our suffering, not by our own cleverness, craft, or scheming, but by the Holy Spirit.

Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer

Psalm 148.1-4
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
    praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels;
    praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon;
    praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens
    and you waters above the skies.

Reflection: Creator of Worlds :: Worldwide Prayer
By John Tillman

Scripture tells us that creation groans to be released from sin. If the beauty and wonder of creation is what shines through despite its being shackled with sin, how much more beautiful may it be when all has been restored?

And…if creation is still capable of beauty and wonder through its groaning and pain, so much the more are we. We are not mere rocks that cry out, but God’s children whose mouths are filled with ordained praise. 

We are not trees that clap our hands with the breeze but God’s own family who celebrate the grace of God our Father even with our faces set firmly against a blowing gale.

With joy, we join this prayer from Christian brothers and sisters in Jamaica, praising and calling on the Almighty God, creator of all worlds!

Creator of Worlds
Prayer for the preservation of creation from Jamaica

Almighty God: Creator of all worlds!

We honor you for the marvels of your creation, and thank you for that part of it which is our home— the mountains, the green fields, and the sea— the abundance and energy of life in us and around us.

We confess that we have often forgotten that the world is yours and so we have misused and abused your gifts, causing distress and pain to others and to ourselves.

Out of your forgiving grace—hear us now as we pray for healing in our world.

Remember those who behold but cannot appreciate your wonderful world and those who abuse and deface its beauty—that they may discover the joy of tending the garden of the Lord.

Remember those who squander and waste resources you have entrusted to them, but are not concerned that others are starving.

Remember those who respect not life, your precious gift, in themselves and in others, and who from greed, or anger, or malice destroy human life without pity or fear.

Remember those who bear rule in communities and nations, acting with arrogance and without wisdom—that they may know that power is a trust for which they must give an account to you the only Absolute Ruler. May they in humility exercise the stewardship you have allotted them. May their labors promote peace and prosperity among the peoples of our troubled lands.

Oh Lord, help us all to be good stewards of this beautiful universe your mighty hand has brought into being.

In Jesus’ great name.

*Prayer from Hallowed be Your Name: A collection of prayers from around the world, Dr. Tony Cupit, Editor.

Prayer: The Greeting
For your Name’s sake, O Lord, forgive my sin, for it is great. — Psalm 25.10

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Today’s Readings
Joshua 16-17 (Listen – 5:13)
Psalm 148 (Listen – 1:28)

This Weekend’s Readings
Joshua 18-19 (Listen – 9:59), Psalm 149-150 (Listen – 1:36)
Joshua 20-21 (Listen – 6:58), Acts 1 (Listen – 3:58)

Thank You!
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Readers’ Choice Submissions

It is once again time for us to seek out the voices of our readers and hear from you about posts from the past eleven months that have challenged and comforted you and helped you find new meaning in the scriptures.

Readers’ Choice posts will be republished during the month of August and periodically throughout the Fall.

Follow the link to fill out the form. Feel free to fill out the form multiple times for multiple submissions. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.

For any questions about The Park Forum, or to make suggestions of posts via email, contact John Tillman at

Read more about Overgrown by the Gospel
May the gospel make ruins of our pride and selfishness. May we be overgrown by the gospel.

Read more about Cultivation Means Tending
The gospel is a seed from the first garden, the garden of Eden. The seed of the woman, Jesus himself, is our salvation and we plant this seed in our own hearts.